“…silence as a source-point, like a set of co-ordinates, a way of navigating the void “
The image above is actually the original “negative”, made by using fire on glass, delivering fine particulate which performs “photographically” when printed in reverse, like an analogue photograph.
This work is titled “The Moon Glows the Same” after the poem by Basho, :
The moon glows the same, it is the drifting cloud forms that make it seem to change.
The centrality of a non-distinct face aglow in the centre of a dark space speaks directly to Basho’s moon. However, the visual action of Basho’s clouds moving across the moon, the things that ‘make it seem to change’, have gone and left us with a clear dark night sky, with an unobscured view of an illuminated moon-face. Now there is silence.
My first thought when the picture was processed was the aesthetic of a blurred pin hole photograph or watching the effect of super 8 film shudder as it travels through a projector. The glowing face is blurring, perhaps moving towards us. This is reminiscent of a photographic motion blur but no lens or plug-in has been used. However, in photographic and painting terms, a blur is synonymous with the passage of time, which visually denotes the fourth-dimension. Alongside length, breadth, and depth, time is also an important component in an artist’s tool-box.
However, with “The Moon Glows the Same” it is important to be reminded that no object in time or space has actually been photographed as it is a drawing using carbon and yet technical aspects of analogue photography have definitely been employed:
- I am using fire (aka light) on thick glass plate
- Carbon particulate replaces silver particulate;
- Instead of a darkroom projector which projects light through the glass plate exposing photosensitive paper, a scanner bed is employed which requires the light to pass through the glass medium all the same;
- I am reversing from the original like a photographic negative.
The face in “The Moon Glows the Same” is generic, androgynous, more universal than specific. It is also moon-like, a strange form emerging from the void. This brings to mind the Japanese aesthetic of Yugen: “…an aesthetic principle which expresses shadowy darkness or dim blackness, hidden depth or profound mystery.
Folded into Yugen is stillness, a sense of silence and the Void. At this level of nuance, to employ the ‘void-ness’ of Yugen in the making of this picture was to “…manifest the beauty of hidden depths, by raising into clarity the vague and indistinct overtones of feeling from a dim penumbral region of shadowy darkness, which forever haunts those objects clearly illuminated in the foreground focus of attention.”
All these threads speak to the practical art making depths and dynamics of silence as a source-point, like a set of co-ordinates, a way of navigating the void. As Lynn Szabo finds in the poetry of Thomas Merton “…it becomes clear that the language of silence is the repatriating force which charts the ‘geography’ of this new, unbounded territory, lending visions and potentialities as it declares itself to its attendant explorers. 
“The Moon Glows the Same” is a retrieval from this ‘unbounded territory’.
Cloud Farm Studios, 2022
 W Hernandez, “Prayer,” in In Global Dictionary of Theology ed. and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen edited by William A. Dyrness (InterVarsity Press, 2008), 1.
 Steve Odin, “The Penumbral Shadow: A Whiteheadian Perspective on the Yūgen Style of Art and Literature in Japanese Aesthetics,” Japanese journal of religious studies 12, no. 1 (1985): 76.
 Odin, “The Penumbral Shadow: A Whiteheadian Perspective on the Yūgen Style of Art and Literature in Japanese Aesthetics,” 76.
 Lynn Szabo, “The Sound of Sheer Silence: A Study in the Poetics of Thomas Merton,” The Merton Annual 13 (2000): 210.